Retirement is a brand new lifestyle choice for Andy Roddick, but three months into his new way of being, the former No. 1 is content with leaving the tennis grind behind.
But if anyone has the idea he has just been sitting in an easy chair and relaxing, think again. Beyond his admitted addiction to watching football on the Red Zone channel in close proximity to the refrigerator, the 30-year-old has been keeping busy pursuing other "normal" life activities.
The last time Roddick remembers being able to enjoy doing whatever he wants instead of tennis dictating his every step was when he was 10.
"What's filling my life? All the things that should be filling your life," said Roddick, who was in Miami to play the Miami Tennis Cup, an exhibition he committed to before deciding to retire following the U.S. Open.
"Time with friends and family. It's funny I get asked the question and every day I wake up, I feel like I have a full day. Last week my friends and I did a 5K, then we did a boot camp, had brunch and a couple of Bloody Marys, then after that we went and did laser tag for three hours. It was like 12 of us and then at night we went to dinner and a movie. We literally started at 8:30 in the morning and we were done at 10:45 at night and it was awesome. It's nice to do whatever you want and fill time with a bunch of random activities."
Swinging a golf club rather than a tennis racket is occupying a big chunk of Roddick's time. While not traveling to play tennis, he's made a number of trips to play some of the great golf courses around the country. "Which ones?" he was repeatedly asked during the weekend in Miami. "I can't tell you," he said, smiling, seeming to stop short of using the old joke that if he made the reveal, he'd have to kill those within hearing range.
Where he has been playing golf was an off-limits topic. But how he's playing was not.
"I have been playing a lot," Roddick said. "It depends if my wife [actress Brooklyn Decker] is traveling. No chance I play less than 36 holes on one of her travel days. I've played 50-60 rounds since the U.S. Open. My game's OK, but I look at things in the grand scheme of sports. Someone who's OK at golf. … I imagine the guy playing next to me in some tennis center that I was judging and I think I'm that guy in golf now. I can hit the ball a little bit, but I definitely don't want to say I'm any good at it at all."
On the serious side, Roddick is spending time being hands-on with his charitable foundation's new venture of building a sports and learning center in East Austin, Texas, the city where he resides. And he's also continuing to put his well-known wit to use on the syndicated weekly radio show he's co-hosted since last year with Bobby Bones for Fox Sports Radio. His hope is that the show might one day go daily.
While the 2003 U.S. Open champion is keeping himself very busy, he hasn't fooled himself into thinking he has any real sense of how retirement feels. His last official pro match -- a fourth-round loss to Juan Martin del Potro at the U.S. Open -- led into the autumn season when he usually kept to a lighter tour schedule.
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Roddick knows, however, that he'll soon get his first taste of no longer being a full-time tennis player.
"To be honest, I don't know that it will really affect me until January comes around," he said. "The last 13 Januarys I've been in Australia. I haven't experienced Jan. 8 in the United States for 15 years. You start to identify certain months with certain places, that's where you are. … I wasn't jealous of the guys going on a 15-hour flight to Shanghai [in October] or wherever else. Once I see the guys over [in Australia], obviously I'll miss it a little bit."
As it turns out, Roddick hasn't totally changed how he's spending the traditional December offseason. This week, Roddick, in Los Angeles, where Decker has meetings, was spotted at UCLA hitting with James Blake, who at 32 is still keeping his racket in hand.
Retiring, it turns out, had nothing to do with Roddick losing his zeal for the game.
"It's still fun," Roddick said. "That's the thing. Some people leave because they resent the game or they just can't play anymore. I don't know that was the case for me in either scenario. I always said I wanted to go out on my terms when I could still play a little bit. I still enjoy hitting balls."
Hitting balls is one thing. Going through the rigors of training, which Roddick is known to have been obsessive about, was starting to be too much. Dealing with chronic injuries the past few years was also taking a toll.
"Tennis is a full-time job and not just the two hours that people see when we're on the court," Roddick said. "The recovery became hard. I'm not graceful like Roger Federer. I have to use a lot more effort and a lot more of my physical tools. And what you see when I play is what I did in every practice. My body kept asking for more and I'm not sure I had more to give."
So for those wondering what Roddick has been up to, it's the pursuit of the normalcy he hasn't known since he was a child. Of course, he's not destined to ever be that guy next door, who is unlikely to retire at age 30 with over $20.6 million in prize money earnings, not to mention a successful actress as a wife.
But after more than a decade as the most notable American player, Roddick is within his right to attempt to be his best version of just the man on the street.
Juan Martin del Potro sent Andy Roddick into retirement when he beat him at the U.S. Open last September, but hey, no hard feelings. Roddick is in South America to play a few exhibition matches with Del Potro, who is skipping Australian Open tune-up events in favor of training at home.
According to Argentine press, Roddick and Del Potro will play an exhibition match today at the Cantegrill Country Club in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and then head to Cúpula de la Sociedad Rural in Buenos Aires for another match tomorrow. The exhibitions will also feature Argentinian legends Guillermo Vilas and Jose Luis Clerc. For Roddick, these exhibitions offered him a chance to visit South America, something he says he did not get to do much during his playing career.
Del Potro won’t have too much time to spare once the exhibitions conclude. The world No. 7 is confirmed for the AAMI Classic exhibition (a.k.a. Kooyong) in Melbourne next week, where he’ll join a field that includes Milos Raonic, Juan Monaco and Janko Tipsarevic. That event begins Jan. 9, and it will be Del Potro’s sole preparation for the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 14.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Sam Querrey kept insisting the other day that he was "the No. 2 American."
The 20th seed was deferring to John Isner, the 13th-ranked player who withdrew from the Australian Open with a lingering knee injury.
But you would be forgiven if the mind jumped elsewhere.
Such protestations were common from the corps of Yanks that came of age in the Andy Roddick era.
Even when he was no longer atop the national leaderboard, Roddick's peers always maintained he was top dog.
Now that he is missing for good — Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and former No. 1, pulled the plug on his career at last year's U.S. Open — his presence on the collective American tennis psyche still looms large.
"Even though his ranking wasn't reflecting it the last couple of years he was a huge draw and a marquee player," said Bob Bryan, part of the top-ranked doubles duo with twin brother Mike Bryan.
Ryan Harrison, 20, said the smaller locker room shared by most Americans was noticeably quieter last weekend because Roddick wasn't glued to the set barking out commentary at the NFL playoffs showing on TV.
"You can tell he's not in the locker room, that's for sure," said Harrison, who lost to top-seeded Novak Djokovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 in the second round Wednesday. "He's certainly a presence whenever he's in there."
Querrey, who advanced to the third round when compatriot Brian Baker retired leading 7-6 (7-2), 1-1 with a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, said Roddick continued to pepper the guys with electronic encouragement.
"He still keeps in touch, texts us — 'Great job, good luck,'" said Querrey. "It's a little different. We miss him. I think it'll kick in more when we're three, four months into the year......read more (http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/tennis/2013/01/16/australian-open-american-men-andy-roddick/1838933/)
The group in blue T-shirts calls itself Club 15, because it packs a small area along the 15th tee at Pebble Beach and – well, claims it provides professional support for amateurs in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but the support seems more like harassment.
They chant, they cheer, they bellow. Andy Roddick knew all about Club 15. And after he hit his tee shot, with a hybrid not a driver, Roddick stepped over the gallery rope and virtually dove into the crowd, which hoisted him up and then nearly dropped him.
“That was fun,” Roddick would say later, “but I almost went past vertical so I was a little worried. I’m just thankful they let me get away with hitting a hybrid. I’ve heard they can be tough.”
Roddick, 32, announced his retirement from the ATP World Tour at last year’s U.S. Open. He had won the 2003 Open. He had been a Wimbledon finalist three times. But he never had played in a golf tournament, until the 2013 AT&T, where he was paired with pro John Mallinger.
Mallinger made the pro cut, but the team, with a net best-ball score of 16-under par 198 -- Roddick playing to a 6 handicap -- did not. Also in the foursome were pro Jerry Kelly and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who were a shot worse at 15-under.
“It’s tough to compare,” said Roddick, when asked the obligatory question about playing golf and tennis in competition. “In tennis, on my worst day I still knew what I was doing. Here, probably half the people in the stands could hit a ball better than I could. That wasn’t true in tennis.”
That wasn’t true in golf, either. Single-digit handicappers are rare among America’s 26 million players.
“I know enough about one sport that you’re not going to be that good if you do something half the time or for fun,” reminded Roddick. “When amateurs talk about, ‘I could be a pro,’ it’s harder than you think.”
Roddick had met Rodgers previously. Andy’s dad is a lifelong Packers fan.
“He never had been to Lambeau (Field, Green Bay’s home), and a mutual friend reached out to Aaron. He not helped us, he put us in his box. You watch him on TV and then he turns out to be every bit as nice a person a player.”
Roddick has swung the racquet now and then since the announcement at Flushing Meadows he was taking his leave, but he’s swung golf clubs much more.
“I play a lot, three or four times a week,” he said. “Athletes are kind of trained to enjoy the process of getting better. I enjoy doing this. It’s nice to be able to hang with friends. I loved playing here. I just wish I could have played a little better.”
That’s what everyone says, no matter the ability, no matter the sport.
02-12-2013, 12:51 PM
Although Roddick officially retired after the U.S. Open in September, he has not turned in his retirement papers. As a result, Roddick had to give the testing agency his address while in Palm Desert in case they wanted to test him between 6-7 a.m. today.
Maybe just a tank and comeback next year? :haha:
02-12-2013, 10:17 PM
ANDY RODDICK, SLOANE STEPHENS TOP MYLAN WTT MARQUEE DRAFT
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Feb. 12, 2013) – Andy Roddick is returning to the tennis courts this summer.
The former world number one was the top pick in today's Mylan World TeamTennis Marquee Draft. Roddick, who first started with Mylan WTT in 2000, will play for the Springfield Lasers. This will be Roddick's 7th Mylan WTT season and his first since 2010.
"I first played World TeamTennis when I was just starting out and have played throughout my
career so I'm excited to be back," said Roddick. "I've always liked the competition and the fan
energy. I love being on a team and am looking forward to playing for the Springfield Lasers this July."
Roddick - Gone, But Definitely Not Forgotten Post-Retirement
Andy Roddick may be retired, but his active presence in the sport proves we still must pay attention to him writes Tennis Now's Erik Gudris.
By Erik Gudris
February 14th, 2013
Andy Roddick has been officially retired from tennis for the past five months. But he hasn't exactly been keeping a low profile.
The former No. 1 seems to pop up somewhere almost every week whether it's at the Super Bowl, a pro-am golf tournament or at an exhibition like the one he's scheduled to appear at this weekend at the SAP Open in San Jose.
This week a who's who of current American players, including John Isner and Sam Querrey, are also in San Jose. But the dominant discussion coming out of the event so far isn't on who will win the title, but instead who among the local talent will rise up and take over Roddick's mantle as being the face of U.S. men's tennis.
The recent grim stats that show the dominance of American players in the game is long over has increased the urgency to find the next Roddick – that is, someone who can become a household name the way the big serving Nebraska native did when he won the U.S. Open in 2003.
But it's hard to keep focus on who that might be when Roddick himself keeps making headlines. Just a few days ago Roddick, speaking at a charity event in Palm Desert, California, publicly blasted the ATP's decision to vote down organizers of the BNP Paribas Open and their move to increase its prize money total for this year's event. He also spoke at length about the ongoing discussion about doping in tennis and revealed that he himself had to let drug testers know his whereabouts while he was in Palm Desert. (Source: MyDesertSun.com)
Why would he be tested you ask? Because Roddick hasn't yet turned in his retirement papers to the ATP. That Roddick hasn't yet done so, either for business reasons or that he's just been too busy, explains his current world ranking of No. 42 on the computer despite not having played an official match since Flushing Meadows. Though one shouldn't expect him to make a comeback anytime soon, it does explain the odd role Roddick has right now – not in competition anymore but still part of the framework of the sport.
While some tennis fans are sad that Roddick is no longer on tour, there are plenty of others who are relieved they won't have to see or hear his brash personality again at a big event. But what both sides will agree upon is that Roddick still attracts attention. And it's that ability to get the press's interest and the new duality he currently inhabits that might just make him a perfect candidate to serve as an ambassador or an intermediary of some kind in the ongoing division between the players and the ATP.
We all know Roddick is capable of taking control of a bad situation. Case in point – his famous march to Court 13 at the 2011 U.S. Open when he was unsatisfied about court conditions for his then fourth round match against David Ferrer. The issue at Indian Wells may well resolve itself soon, but that doesn't mean the touchy topic of prize money, the nearly endless schedule and other ongoing flashpoints between the players and the ATP won't stop. Roddick could possibly serve as the voice of the players in an impartial way as he isn't officially competing, he's not currently on the payroll of any major tennis media outlets, and he isn't on the board of any ATP committees.
That is if Roddick wants to. Right now, he still appears happy just to be improving his golf game, participating on his syndicated radio show and, yes, appearing on court when he can. That includes him being a recent first round draft pick for World Team Tennis this summer.
"I first played World TeamTennis when I was just starting out and have played throughout my career so I'm excited to be back," said Roddick. "I've always liked the competition and the fan energy. I love being on a team and am looking forward to playing for the Springfield Lasers this July."
Whatever role Roddick chooses or chooses not to have in the sport moving forward is his to make. But don't expect him to quietly fade away into obscurity before he steps up to the podium to receive his expected induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame sometime in the future. Andy Roddick may be gone from the tour, but he's certainly not going to let us forget him anytime soon.
02-19-2013, 07:25 PM
I know His contract with Lacoste expired this year, but which brand of clothes Andy wore recently in San Jose?
02-19-2013, 08:48 PM
I know His contract with Lacoste expired this year, but which brand of clothes Andy wore recently in San Jose?
Travismathew, same as James Blake
02-19-2013, 11:19 PM
Thank you. :)
02-20-2013, 12:44 AM
Travis Mathew @TRAVISMATHEW
@andyroddick & Mark Knowles stopped by @TravisMathew HQ today! pic.twitter.com/aBUhSIhH
03-30-2013, 07:38 PM
Chronicle Promotions @CHRON2 21m
Join @andyroddick & friends April 14th for the Bogey Down Party! Enjoy a great night for a great cause: http://ow.ly/jA6s5
Venus Williams, Andy Roddick part owners of Billie Jean King's World Team Tennis league
NEW YORK – Venus Williams and Andy Roddick are joining the business side of World Team Tennis.
WTT announced Monday that Williams and Roddick will become part owners of Billie Jean King's summer league for male and female players. She has run the WTT since the 1970s.
The former top-ranked players will help identify new markets and reach out to potential owners, sponsors, fans and players. King says it's "important to have the younger generation involved in our strategic planning."
Roddick hopes to start a team in his current home of Austin, Texas.
They'll both keep playing for their WTT teams. Williams leads the two-time defending champion Washington Kastles, and Roddick will compete with the Lasers of Springfield, Mo.
The summer league runs from July 7 to 28 and features professional players in eight cities. The league aims to expand to 16 teams by 2018.
Andy Roddick is about to take on a new opponent: ESPN.
The retired U.S. tennis star has been hired as one of the co-hosts of Fox Sports Live, a three-hour news, opinion and highlight show that will air nightly on Fox Sports 1 between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. ET. The show is Fox Sports' challenge to SportsCenter and will debut when the network launches Aug. 17.
Fox Sports executives say viewers should think of Fox Sports Live as multiple shows inside a three-hour block. Roddick will join host Charissa Thompson, who will soon leave ESPN for Fox, on one side of the studio as part of a panel discussing the sports news of the day and interviewing newsmakers. Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole, the popular hosts of TSN's late-night SportsCentre show, will appear on the other side of the studio as the primary highlight readers. Test shows for Fox Sports Live will start as early as June. Fox Sports plans to hire more panelists (likely former athletes) for the show in the near future.
The 30-year-old Roddick said he will appear on Fox Sports Live nightly between Monday and Friday, working either four or five nights depending on the week. Fox Sports executives initially contacted him a few weeks after he announced his retirement from tennis at the U.S. Open last August. Roddick told Fox Sports executives that he was not looking for a full-time job in television. But the two sides stayed in touch throughout the next couple of months, as Fox Sports executives shared their vision with Roddick for a competitor to ESPN's SportsCenter.
DEITSCH: Fox Sports Live vs. SportsCenter
"Throughout the interview process I was very honest," Roddick said. "I was the way I have always been: pretty direct and pretty opinionated. I think that's what they were looking for. I don't know if they were looking for a typical, run-of-the-mill type of show or someone with fabricated opinions."
The interview process heated up a couple of months ago as Roddick embarked on three in-person interviews with Fox Sports executives in Los Angeles and multiple phone interviews.
"It started with gauging interest on both sides and I don't know that I was in a hurry to rush into anything that wasn't a perfect opportunity in my mind," Roddick said. "It was a fascinating process for me. I really haven't had to earn my keep in a given job since I was 18 years old. Getting the gig is a start, but I am certainly prepared to put the work in and learn about this side of it, and try to prove my worth to the guys taking a shot with me."
What did Fox Sports want to hear from Roddick during the interview process? That Roddick was willing to work, according to Fox Sports executive vice president of studio production Scott Ackerson.
"It's a big job for the show," Ackerson said. "You are on three hours most nights talking about stuff that might be out of your comfort zone. I wanted to find out how hard he wanted to work and the indications I got was he is fully committed to this."
Roddick's previous work on a syndicated Fox Sports Radio show (with host Bobby Bones) proved to be a big selling point for both Roddick and Fox Sports executives. (Fox Sports said Roddick could also get involved with its radio division again.)
"That was a huge thing for me to get reps, to learn how a show clock works," Roddick said. "I didn't pretend to know anything about radio. I was lucky that Fox Sports gave me a chance to learn on the job."
Ackerson said he listened to Roddick on Fox Sports Radio and became convinced he could converse on multiple sports. After the interview process, Fox Sports formally offered Roddick the job more than a month ago. (He signed a multi-year deal.) Roddick said he and his actress-model wife, Brooklyn Decker, have leased a place in Los Angeles and will also maintain their home in Austin, Texas. Asked if Decker, a former Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model, has given him any advice on his new gig, Roddick laughed and said, "We discuss the logistics of our potential work decisions and how we deal with that on a personal level, but I don't get too involved in what she has going on and vice versa. We trust each other enough to get the job done. So I don't know that she'll be advising me on my day-to-day commentary on Fox Sports Live."
Ackerson described Roddick's role as being a part of "an intelligent discussion of athletes that can take any shape or form." Roddick said viewers should not expect him to merely blast athletes and coaching decisions.
"The last thing I am going to try to do is try to think I know more than someone who makes decisions as a head coach in the NFL," Roddick said. "I don't think I will be the guy questioning Bill Belichick's coaching decisions in the fourth quarter. I think that's stupidity. But I think I can give a decent look on the preparation side of athletes, the business side and maybe what they are thinking going into a big situation or moment."
Roddick still plays tennis occasionally and has an equity stake in World Team Tennis. (He'll be playing for the Springfield, Mo., franchise in July.) He said he'd be interested in an occasional one-off exhibition but his job with Fox Sports Live is his priority. He said he's not interested in commentating on tennis.
"If Andy does his homework, has intelligent stuff to say, and if he has a good personality and chemistry with the others on the set, he will be successful," Ackerson said. "If it doesn't happen that way, he won't be. But I would be flabbergasted if he doesn't have success. I think he's the right person at the right time for this show."
“A Life More Ordinary”
After 13 years as a top professional tennis player, Andy Roddick steps away from the game to focus on the next chapter of his life.
By Erin Quinn
Austin Monthly magazine, June, 2013
On a warm April evening at the Barton Creek Country Club, the Darrell Royal Ballroom is packed with folks dressed in their kitschy ’80s best. There’s a Run-DMC lookalike, Marty from Back to the Future and a pregnant woman wearing a gigantic Rubik’s Cube around her bump. Even radio show host Bobby Bones, who is there as emcee, has joined in, doing his best Michael Jackson impersonation in a sparkly fedora, white glove and tight leather pants. They are all here to support newly retired pro tennis star Andy Roddick in his latest endeavor: transitioning his Andy Roddick Foundation from a “pass-through” charity into a foundation that develops and inspires underserved children through sports-based mentoring and education. This party, and a celebrity golf tournament the next day, are the first new events the foundation has thrown since Roddick announced his retirement on Aug. 30, 2012—his 30th birthday.
The Young Gun
Driving to meet Roddick for an interview is a tad nerve-wracking. The Nebraska native, who lived in Austin from the ages of 4-11, moved to Florida for better training and then moved back to Austin in 2003, is known for his smarts, work ethic, wit—and bite, especially when talking to reporters. “You can’t really get much by him,” says Tennis magazine’s veteran senior editor Pete Bodo, who has been covering Roddick’s career from the very start. “One time, Doug Robson of USA Today, an outstanding fellow and writer, made the mistake of calling him a ‘one-slam wonder,’ which is an expression in tennis for a guy who maybe won a Grand Slam in the past but never won anything else, and Andy took umbrage at that. For quite a long time after that, he was pretty snotty whenever he ran into Doug. He definitely has an edge, there’s no question about it. But the thing is, you can’t fly anything by him; you can’t bullsh*t him, essentially. To his credit, I don’t think he bullsh*ts you, either.”
When I meet him at the ARF facilities on Austin’s East Side, he greets me with a handshake and a big smile. “I’m Andy,” he says. Nothing is off-limits during our interview, and we discuss everything from his tennis career and his wife of four years, actress Brooklyn Decker, to his evolving foundation, how he’s adjusting to retirement and where he loves to hang out in Austin.
Dressed in jeans, a light sweater and his signature ball cap, the 6-foot-2 Roddick is relaxed yet straightforward and concise with his answers. Does he miss anything about tennis? “I’ll see a night match, with the electricity in the air, and that makes me jealous for about five seconds,” he says. “Until I realize that it takes about two weeks of travel to get there, acclimatize, settle in—there’s a lot that goes into that two or three-hour moment.”
A-Rod, as he’s nicknamed in tennis circles, had plenty of those moments in his 13 seasons as a professional tennis player. He turned pro in February 2000, after winning the Australian Open Junior Championship. He was only 17, but he already had a killer serve and top-notch forehand. That year, he played two matches against his idol, Andre Agassi (he lost both), and his big serve drew comparisons to Pete Sampras. With no other American teenagers making waves, Roddick was anointed the future of U.S. men’s tennis.
He lived up to that title pretty quickly by winning the US Open in 2003, mere days after turning 21. “I’m in disbelief right now,” Roddick told reporters after his big win. “It’s so far-fetched for me. I came here as a fan so much when I was younger. It is an absolute privilege to have my name on the trophy.”
Although he remained in the Top 10 for nine years (give or take a few weeks), that was his first and last Grand Slam title. What happened? To put it simply: Roger Federer, the Swiss player who many call the greatest of all time. Although Roddick reached No. 1 before him, Federer overtook him in the rankings in 2004 and held onto the No. 1 spot for a record 302 weeks. Oh yeah, he also won an astounding 17 Grand Slam singles titles.
Roddick had his chances, reaching four other Slam finals—the US Open in 2006 and Wimbledon in 2004, ’05 and ’09—but standing in his way was Federer every time. “If it weren’t for Federer, Roddick would probably have two, maybe three Wimbledons, maybe another US Open or two,” says Bodo. “In fact, he himself will tell you that he was very lucky to come along before Roger. If he came along a year or two later, he may have just been one of those guys who never won a Grand Slam, made the Top 10 a bunch of years and that was it. It’s a mixed blessing for him, in a way—and he knows it.”
Although Roddick never won another major, he did have many other career highlights over the next nine years, including winning 32 singles titles and amassing more than $20 million in prize money. He held the record for fastest serve (155 mph) for seven years, and he gave the sport one of its greatest matches ever when he courageously went toe-to-toe with Federer in their marathon 2009 Wimbledon final. As for his Davis Cup career, he won 33 singles matches, placing him second to John McEnroe, and helped the Americans beat the Russians in 2007 to win the Cup back after a 12-year drought. “Andy was the ultimate professional,” says four-time Grand Slam winner and former No. 1 Jim Courier, who was the captain for the U.S. Davis Cup team in 2011. “He was always prepared, always fit, always ready to battle.”
And battle he did. He fought to stay in the world’s Top 10 until July 25, 2011, when long-standing injuries to his knees, ankles, shoulder and back, along with keeping up with Federer and Rafael Nadal, got to be too much for him. (Although he walked away with a winning record, 5-4, against current No. 1 Novak Djokovic.) In fact, when he announced his retirement, he mentioned his right shoulder injury several times. These days, “I don’t test it,” he says. “I honestly haven’t had a reason to go serve full-out since I retired. Even the exhibitions I play, I don’t do it. It became, with my shoulder, that I’d hit for two hours and then do treatment for four hours.”
Despite the lack of major titles, Bodo has no doubt that Roddick is deserving of a Hall of Fame honor. “His achievements are cumulative ones, not individual ones,” he says. “The number of years he remained in the Top 10, his Davis Cup record, his consistency over time and the number of years he did not get discouraged or mail it in—nobody worked harder than Andy did.”
A New Chapter
Now that he’s off the tennis circuit and no longer has to travel a minimum of 40 weeks per year, Roddick has turned his attention to his foundation, including the construction of its new learning center, complete with a 10,600-square-foot main facility, seven tennis courts and a full-sized outdoor basketball court, set to open this fall.
Roddick was inspired to start the foundation in 2000, a year after asking his idol Agassi what his biggest regret was. Agassi told his young colleague that he wished he had started his foundation earlier—so Roddick wasted no time in starting his. For 12 years, the foundation was what Roddick calls a “pass-through.” There would be a big event once a year, usually a gala featuring appearances and performances by Roddick’s big-name friends, such as Sir Elton John and John Legend, and then the profits would be distributed to local charities, including The Settlement Home for Children, A Glimmer of Hope and Austin Children’s Shelter. But now that he’s in the capital city permanently, Roddick is ready to take it to the next level.
While the learning center was inspired by Agassi’s charter school in Las Vegas, there are some big differences. “It’s not going to be a full-time school, it’s going to be more mentoring after school, in the same spirit of wanting to help in the way Andre has,” Roddick says. “It’s certainly not a carbon copy, but you can learn a lot from him and other people who have had success in this area.”
ARF’s motto is “Talent is Universal, Opportunity is Not.” That’s something Roddick says he has seen with his own eyes. “The thing is, the old saying ‘all men are created equal,’ that’s not always the case,” he says. “Some are born with opportunity and, for lack of a better term, they piss it away, and some have all the motivation, all the right intent, and they don’t get that opportunity. I think what we can do is raise awareness, raise funds, put the right people in place to make a difference and provide opportunities for someone who really craves it. And hopefully something really special will happen.”
Roddick actually set this transition into motion about a year and a half ago. In January 2012, he called his childhood friend Jeff C. Lau, who was working on Wall Street in New York after attending West Point and serving a tour of duty in Iraq, and asked him if he was interested in helping him transition the foundation. “I wasn’t getting up in the morning really jazzed about what I was doing,” says Lau, who had been working in mergers and acquisitions. “Andy said, ‘I have an idea of where I want the foundation to go, but I need someone I can trust and who can provide that intensity and not take any shortcuts.’ I said, ‘Let me think about it.’”
“Internally, I didn’t have to think about it too long—an 80-percent pay cut sounds wonderful. Let’s do it!” Lau laughs. “But here we are 14 months later, and I feel like we’ve got a lot of traction, and we’ve hired a lot of talented people. Billie Jean King even joined the board, and she’s emailing left and right. I think part of the battle is just getting really talented, capable people together, putting together a strategy and setting the standard really high.”
King says she and Roddick have always had a special bond. (In fact, Roddick just joined King’s World Team Tennis ownership group and is looking to start a team in Austin next year.) “One thing about Andy is he has integrity,” she says. “I knew from the first time I met him when he was 17 that he was something special. He has always tried to think beyond himself and help others. We saw that spirit when he played Davis Cup, and we are seeing that now with his leadership of his foundation.”
While the learning center is still in the planning stages, Roddick does know he wants to target kids of all ages. “It won’t be one program for all,” he says. “We’re looking at housing a number of programs under our facility. We’re going to start announcing in the next month or two some pop-ups and clinics to build some momentum and start that process of gaining trust and getting involved with different communities here on a temporary basis until we can actually get into our own shoes.”
Home, Sweet Home
His new, bigger role at the foundation isn’t the only change in Roddick’s life. While that’s running full speed ahead, his personal life has slowed down—and he’s enjoying every moment. “People ask what I’ve been up to, and I say everything and nothing,” he says. “The part that is a little different is that this was the first January in 15 years that I wasn’t in Australia [for the Australian Open]. I actually saw Austin in January for the first time ever. I was very familiar with Austin in July, for those three weeks before the summer season starts. So I’m kind of seeing different things at different times.”
He’s also adjusting to having a more flexible schedule. “For 12 years I could have told you six months in advance where I would be on a given week,” he says. “And at the foundation it’s a little bit more like, ‘We’ve got a request. We need you here to do this but it’s only 10 days out.’ So it’s not as structured, I guess, but still fun, still busy, which is nice. People make the mistake of saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re retired at 30.’ And I say, ‘I’m retired from tennis, not existence.’”
Although he has no aspirations to follow in other pro athletes’ footsteps and become a TV commentator (“I tell everyone I didn’t retire from playing tennis when I was No. 15 in the world to go sit in a box and talk about it,” he says.), he continues to offer his opinion on a weekly sports show on Fox Sports Radio with his buddy Bobby Bones. “I’m not doing it all the time because of everything else that I’m doing,” he says. “But Bobby still allows me to pop in.” Roddick also cryptically says that he’s had some “interesting” opportunities that may be revealed soon.
These days, he’s enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle at home with his wife and their two English bulldogs: Billie Jean, who they’ve had about five years, and Bob Costas, a new addition to the family. “Sometime like two years ago, Brooke was wanting to get another dog, because she grew up with way too many animals for one house,” he says. “I was like, ‘When I retire, we’ll get another one.’ Then three days after I retired, we were sitting around at lunch and she looked at me with this startled look and said, ‘I just remembered something—you said we could get another dog!’ So it was one of those things that there was no getting out of it.”
Decker says she and the pups are definitely happy to have him home more. “Less traveling has allowed him to relax more and focus on some of his favorite projects, whether they be the foundation or golfing,” she says. “I have to admit we’ve taken a greater liking to wine and Amy’s ice cream since he’s retired, and our dogs are happy to finally have their dad home!”
Besides the pitter-patter of little bulldog feet, what about the potential of having kids? “I don’t know that it’s going to be tomorrow,” he says. “If it happened tomorrow, we’d be thrilled and perfectly OK with it, but a lot of it’s up in the air as far as what she’s doing next [Decker recently filmed a TV pilot for CBS called Friends with Better Lives] and what I’m doing next professionally. So I think we’re going to wait and see what happens in the next six months and make grand life decisions after that.”
Whatever he ends up doing, whether it’s solely the foundation, a radio show or something else entirely, plenty of people will be rooting for him. “He’s far too smart, far too talented and far too restless to sit on the sidelines and not be involved,” says Courier. “He’ll have plenty of opportunities to make an impact wherever he wants to go from here.”
07-02-2013, 12:27 AM
Romi Cvitkovic @RomiCvitkovic
Video: Roddick becomes investor, ambassador for clothing line "Travis Mathew"; will wear collection @WorldTeamTennis http://www.travismathew.com/pg/roddick/#.UdIB-Bb3D-k …
4th Annual Ebix Charity Challenge hosted by John Isner with Andy Roddick: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/4th-annual-ebix-charity-challenge-hosted-by-john-isner-with-andy-roddick-tickets-5031583602?aff=Twitter1112
Fellow retirees Andy Roddick and James Blake were seen together during a practice round for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California on Thursday. The pair looked bundled up on a chilly day as they chatted with their caddie… Larry Stefanki? It sure looks like Andy’s old coach (hard to tell with a beanie on) but whoever it is, I’m sure the trio had a lot of fun hitting the green together to prepare for the weekend.